48 leading supply chain organizations meet in Stockholm

PMAC represented Canada at the World Summit of the International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management (IFPSM)

November 28, 2011
by Cheryl Paradowski

Purchasingb2b: Print Edition – October 2011

I have just returned from the beautiful city of Stockholm where PMAC represented Canada at the World Summit of the International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management (IFPSM). PMAC was the sole Canadian representative at this gathering of 48 national and regional purchasing and supply chain management associations from around the globe.

Prior to the beginning of the IFPSM World Summit, PMAC National Board chair Keith Carruthers and I took part in bilateral meetings with two strong European associations the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Inkoopmanagement (NEVI) from the Netherlands and Bundesverband Materialwirtschaft, Einkauf und Logistik (BME) from Germany. These were very intriguing meetings and a unique opportunity to learn from these two organizations.

NEVI actually shares a great deal of similarity with PMAC. We share a similar membership size, both organizations have a focus on education and both offer individual memberships, although NEVI did recently switch focus from corporate to individual memberships. NEVI has been very successful penetrating the Dutch market with their education program and their registrations are very strong. However, it would appear that the geographic distribution of its members within a very small country is a considerable factor in their success. Unfortunately, not something that is directly actionable for PMAC in the vast expanse of a country like Canada. I did find it very intriguing that NEVI actually divide their association into two parts. A member body and a “business” body which manages the educational offerings.

NEVI are currently developing a strong government advocacy position on sustainable purchasing that we will be monitoring with great interest, as PMAC may consider a similar strategy here in Canada in the near future.

It was very interesting meeting with BME as they are a slightly larger organization, with approximately 9,000 members and a growth target to reach 12,000, and have curiously done the opposite of NEVI and recently switched its memberships from an individual focus to a corporate focus. In addition to this larger membership base, BME has also developed a sophisticated approach to maximize the effectiveness of their organization.
BME has also made great efforts to make providing networking opportunities for its members a major focus. They have developed a number of special networks for groups such as: young professionals, women practitioners and distinct business sectors. The country has also been divided into 41 regions–each consisting of a small volunteer board which is dedicated to hosting local networking events. As a result, these 41 regions combined host over 800 local events per year.

The availability of free post-secondary education in Germany makes it difficult, if not impossible, for BME to offer a designation-style supply chain management program. This has prompted them to look for alternative revenue streams and one such stream is its German Quality Sourcing and Benchmarking program. This fee for service program helps to connect German companies with approved global suppliers.

IFPSM reported at the World Summit that among other initiatives, they are currently sponsoring the development of a global standard for supply chain management designation programs, which will have a separate governance mechanism. In addition, IFPSM has become a preferred agency of the United Nations and is now a registered member of the influential United Nations Commission on Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

I am pleased to report that I was nominated to the Board of the IFPSM as a member-at-large, thus increasing PMAC’s already considerable involvement in the evolution of IFPSM.

While increasing membership in IFPSM is always on the agenda, a greater focus will now be placed on adding associations from developing countries–these associations would benefit greatly from the experience and guidance of more mature organizations.

The Summit also included a very relevant educational line-up which included: workshops on public procurement (that contrasted systems in the U.S. and Kenya), capacity building, internationalism vs. nationalism, international training opportunities on the Internet, development of an association board and consistent political leadership in procurement.

I am excited as I look to 2012 because Toronto will be the host city for the next IFPSM Council Meeting. PMAC is proud to be welcoming the world’s premier SCM associations to Canada and continuing our lead role in this influential global organization.          b2b